1953 Tasting Notes
Thoughtful and great-hearted tea friend brought me a sample pack for a lovely Monday afternoon surprise.
Dry, this smells superlative. There should be candles and potpourri all over my house with this scent. There should be poems written to it. I walked out of the office all the way to my car with the pack open and under my nose. Apple fruity goodness.
Steeped, you taste the fruit first. General fruit, then apple, then the kiwi at the back of the throat as you swallow. Mellow, ripe harvest fruit; not tropical drink with an umbrella. For the first run, I erred on the side of caution and kept steep time to 2:30, but it could have gone a little longer without bittering up. This one is going on the shopping list for my next run to Savoy.
After cleaning up a pound of rather roughly shelled pecans, I ended up with a quarter cup or so of pecan schmutz…not shells, just bits that broke off. Smelled nutty lusciously, and I couldn’t bear to throw them away.
So I didn’t. Tossed a pinch into a cup of plain bulk Ceylon this morning for a sweet, smooth autumn treat. I think I could’ve given it another minute to strengthen up the pecan profile; maybe a little dairy to bring it out, but it was tasty all the same. And I’ve got more nut schmutz to experiment with.
But since schmutz tea doesn’t sound very elegant, what do you think about Cracked Pecan Ceylon?
My favorite local bulk tea venue has a keemun I really like (they stock a lot of Frontier Organic Co-op teas, but I don’t think this is one of them). A while back, at the same spot, we picked up an ounce of maple syrup powder to see what it could do.
After adding (b) to (a), I discovered that what it can do is make a really pleasant sweetener, although I’m going to have to work with proportions to find the “sweet spot,” if you will. Takes about a teaspoon to make the maple kick in, which makes for a slightly sweeter cup than I general go for.
With that said, keemun-maple is an absolutely fitting autumn blend and I will keep tweaking!
My favorite local store carries Frontier bulk teas, which currently make up the bulk of my “everyday stash” collection—the ones you snag when you just have time to grab and go.
It took me a while to get the hang of them, but I think the secret with the Frontier black teas is a good long steep to bring out the strength. (If I pulled up previous reviews, I would probably find I was complaining about the weak flavor. Just wasn’t patient enough.)
In the case of this one, five minutes brought out the velvety maltiness that makes Assam taste like an Assam. It’s still a little thin on the tongue, but for an inexpensive off-the-shelf selection, that can be overlooked. Recommended if you need to fill a big tin with very few dollars.
Our weather has finally moderated to the point that an evening cuppa is swell instead of sweltering. A tea buddy fixed me up with a little bag of bulk green tea with jasmine, brand unknown, after I made her spit-on-her-palm swear that it didn’t taste like floor cleaner or air freshener. Jasmine and I don’t always see eye to eye.
Got the water going then left it to cool entirely too long, so I ended up steeping in a cup of “tepid” for about two minutes. And in a Bob Ross happy accident, I ended up with a mild, sweet, nearly sugary broth that has upped my opinion of jasmine by couple of notches. Believe I’ll try it again.
You never know what you’ll find on the pay-it-forward table (AKA Please Take This Junk Off My Hands) in the break room at work. In this case, it was a box of this surprisingly tasty stuff. I split it with a friend, so she got the box and I didn’t think to jot down ingredients.
What I can tell you about this blend is that it has a nice cocoa-mint personality without being cloyingly sweet. I had mine straight up with no additives. The friend who shared with me was planning to take hers home and sweeten with milk—that’d work, too. Enough punch in the mate’ to keep me functional on a must-concentrate-until-your-brain-bleeds afternoon.
I have never much liked any of the zingers … until yesterday. A very thoughtful work friend brought me a tumbler of this stuff steeped strong, iced, sweetened with half honey, half organic sugar. It tasted like the best celestial kool-ade ever. Between the sweetness and the additional ingredients that I do like: chamomile, blackberry, chicory, there was no make-your-eyes-water tartness at all. Best summer afternoon surprise in a long time!
A friend of mine experimented with flavoring her own black tea with raspberry—with very nice results. No nasty hibiscus to gum up the mix, just a good Assam with fruit. A nice, well-rounded balance. I cold steeped some in the fridge overnight with a sprig of chocolate mint from my own back porch. Chocolate raspberry mint goodness—no, scratch that—superbness.
Of course, the fact that our air conditioner has been broken for two days and I had come in from mowing the ditchy part of our yard sweating battery acid made it three times as tasty. Fall can’t get here soon enough for me! :)